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York University
ANTH 2170
Anna Pratt

1. What is animal study?  • Animal studies are used to “naturalize” human behavior  Assumption that they are closer to “nature” and that their behaviours are thus natural – based upon instinct or genetically hardwired traits  Problems? • Animal studies often ignore fluid nature of animal communities and importance of CONTEXT • Indian gray languor • Humans attribute human motivations to animals (we anthropomorphize them), we deny the cultural forces that shape various practices, then we read these actions back as “nature” • Human practices --- describe animals – then animal behaviours – describe human behaviours • Example: meet my parrot; Researchers often make selective associations with animals…”pick and choose” • Ignores cultural implications Lancaster • Sociiobiologists that use animal studies for human behaviour • Side-step issue, animals and humans are comparable • They “cherry pick” animals from kingdom to root its natural • Animal aggression • Claims problem is scientist that make this analogy ignore culture factors like class, race, marginalization, huge amount of animal behaviours are not reported • Behaviours depend on physical environment • Ex. Indian gray languor o Violence in city o Forested areas, get a long Result of different physical environment context plays role in shaping both animal human behaviour Conservative, mainstream behaviours labelled as “natural”:  And by extension…. NORMAL, with an “ontological priority”  E.g. P. 38 Martha McCaughey “Anyone questioning the natural and therefore privileged status of heterosexuality today is likely to meet up with an evolutionary narrative:After all, how could the human species survive without heterosexuality?”  Alot of sociobiologist that many great apes have almost 99% of the same gene as us. This is used as an analogy to explain human actions “ chimps do this so it’s natural for humans to do this”. They make the claim that since we use the same evolutionary line that these sort of comparison is made  This creates a problem for our society, it has helped to make the argument that a lot of great chimps should be given the same human rights therefore, it has been lead to greater political policies  Sociobiology tends to use presumed similarities to naturalized contemporary human behaviors. Example: male aggression  Scientist don’t tell us what that percentage of similarity means; the problem is that the structure of DNAdoesn’t allow us to think that way  Reason for this is that there are a lot of differences in genes where there’s a set of genetic models in our body; for instance, a chimps gene is about 10% larger than humans; the tips of each chromosome contains an amount that is not present in humans; Problem is that they overlook some of these major differences Reading: The trouble with Nature by Lancaster  • Sociobiologist and evolutionary psychologists sidestep this basic problem by  selectively invoking examples from the animal kingdom to match examples of  human actions.  • Animal “aggression” is held to be manifestly comparable to human violence.  • Animal reproduction is claimed to be similar to human courtship, and the  similarity is held to be self­evident.  • Rhetorical: they give the appearance of empirical data to ideological whimsy  • “the animal world is thought of to be the human world” “bonding”, “Rape”  “harem” are used to describe animal behaviors  • behaviors of female apes in stereotypically “feminne” terms, those of males as  “masculine”, no matter what the actual behaviors in question  • for example: the indian gray langur monkeys studied by susan sperling live all  over the subcontinent in many different ecological settings. In lower desntiy,  forested areas, they form multifemale, multimeale groups with fairly relaxed  dominance relations. In high density areas, they tend to form troops consisting of  one adult male and multiple females groups characterized by high elvel of  intermale competition “(eg. Male raids on nearby troops, fast turnover in the  resident male position, etc)  2. Gender versus Sex Differences?  Sex: • Refers to the chromosomal, hormonal or biological differences between men and women • Our society has historically divided people into two sexes: Males and Females – But not all societies do this!! • Some are born as intersex (carrying both female and male parts)- Such individuals are labelled as deviant, problem, abnormal • Refers to the physical interpretations of men and women  Gender: • Refers to the culturally constructed roles people are supposed to play because of their sex • Sex being more about biology and gender is more about culture • Gender is something that we learn and not something that you are born with • We learn what the appropriate roles are for men and women • Learn what appropriate dresses are for men and women • Gradually acquire as men and women • Tend to think gender is natural • Example: genderless baby; the critiques were it is not natural to raise a genderless baby • Societies belief is that gender is something that you are born with • It is the cultural interpretation of sex Gender stereotypes: critics against biologists!!!! Not through sociobiologist lens!  Dominant gender stereotypes: men is the “breadwinner” women is “stay home/caretaker”  Men are suppose to be tough and aggressive, female are passive and emotional  Men are more athletic in some cases  Men are rational and women are irrational (emotional)  Certain sports get gendered: dance, ballet, figure skating, boxing (women if participate they are gay- questioning there sexuality)  Men are simple and straight forward and women are seen as difficult to deal with  Stereotypes of jobs; example: teacher (women), construction workers (men), nurses (women) doctors (men) Today’s example highlights two things: 1) How gender is culturally constructed 2) How gender stereotypes impact how we perceive and depict our world The Egg and the Sperm • Gender stereotypes influence how scientists view and depict their data. They, in turn, reproduce dominant/mainstream stereotypes in our society about male and female bodies. • Scientists themselves reproduce dominant or main stream ideas in our society • In respect of nature vs. nurture, once the scientist write down this information this becomes naturalize and unintentionally becomes naturalized in the society • We are reading the stereotypes and making them naturalized by not questioning the facts that are presented to us • Martin talks about stories of human conception are women are passive, men are aggressive plays out • Look at what is the story that is presented from a young age • The story that is being told is that sperm swims and finds the egg and generally one sperm will find one egg and take lead; gives the idea of egg is just sitting there and waiting • Martin argues that this isn’t quite what happens but they are not moved along by there tails and are not swimming to their own ability but rather it’s the vaginal wall that helps the sperm move up; second thing is when the sperm reaches egg is that the actual enzyme that allows the in conception to occur with sperm • We are taught that the egg is female (passive), and sperm is active (masculine) • For instance, terms pan iterate are used to describe the egg, sperm have whips like tails (so there active) • One scientist used the speedy active for describing sperm • One scientist said that the egg is like sleeping beauty waiting to be woken up by her prince (sperm) • Image that is given is this romantic pursuit; a race against other males to win the egg • Promoting heterosexual romance- takes the heterosexuality into reproduction • Stereotypes get naturalized by scientist and as truth and no questioning occurs • Martin leads the idea of sperm and egg to “poison ivy” through a highly gendered language • Making the female look like she has no role “sit at home and wait for the male to take care of everything”; this reinforces the gender naturalization • Gender being seen as a concept • Race, gender, sex, sexuality are seen as cultural processes • How is it that these things become so powerful? How humans create boundaries for themselves? • When we look at peoples behaviors the categories no longer make sense because they cross over one another • How are boundaries a problem? It sets limit. Certain behavior’s are question for example: wearing a certain color due to your gender • James would argue that what is natural cannot be challenged because they become flat and dominant • For example: Sperm is aggressive, eggs are passive • Evolution is used in prehistory that women were picking barriers and carrying children whereas men were hunters. • Darwin assumed that through evolution things were getting better • The article talked about gender roles as: Men being the providers of the family and women having to stay home • How people are naturally evolved • Sociobiology takes into consideration that this is what is natural • Piercism- experience through your senses • It is suppose to be objective • Sex and gender function together • Sexuality is the same thing and rather cannot be seen • They create a hierarchy as normalize and natural and others as deviant and  unnatural  • Scientists influenced by culture (in this case, gender stereotypes) Culture shapes: ­The questions they ask/research question (example: much more money deposited for  popular diseases such as cancer rather than a disease that is one in a million)  ­How they present their data   ­In case of conception – gendered language and stereotypes Also: ­Gender inequalities in society are perpetuated (unconsciously) by scientists  – E.g. in martin article. Female Menstruation is seen as wasteful and talks about how  women are wasting so many eggs; menstruation is decay.  ­ Notion of being unsanitary and etc. in contrast the production of sperm is  discussed as a remarkable achievement.  ­ Martin says men are producing trillions of sperm that is being wasted compared to  women. The production of “wasteful” is never used for men.  ­ Human deception: as scientist are rethinking this process where we have some  changes that some scientist saying that the egg is more active;  ­ She states that even today scientist attempt to deal with gender type in terms of  there treatment and create an image of women as “dangerous” and “aggressive” ­ Different types of gender stereotypes are getting promoted  Problems with Nature ­ Nature is assumed to be equated with normalcy…if a behavior can be shown to be  rooted in biology, then this I soften used to justify mainstream behavior/the status  quo  Article: Emily Martin’s article  • Talks about these features and description not only make biological structure of  female less worthy but also make women look unworthy in men eyes  • The text book and how sperm and egg are presented in education and how egg is  always seem vulnerable  4. Hegemonic Masculinity • Coined in 1990 by R.W. Connell (now Raewyn Connell); U. of Sydney • Five features of hegemonic masculinity in contemporary industrialized societies • Article: David Murray is an anthropologist on masculinity;  • Comes from the notion of hegemony and that just means dominant  • Whatever is the dominant masculi
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